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To the uninterested, Pinterest has seemed like the domain of single girls curating their future weddings, and Instagram the result of a smartphone-generation with too much time on their hands. Neither is quite true, of course, and RepricerExpress takes a look at these two sites from a different perspective: how you can boost online sales with the two.
Start Off with Rich Pins for a Great First Impression
Just about anyone with the vaguest notion of what Pinterest is knows what pins are, but rich pins take it several steps further. Instead of just having a picture of something on your wall, a rich pin adds in a lot more detail about that object. Pinterest has five different kinds of rich pins, each with its own subsection of extra information.
- Article pins: Under the picture, pinners can see the article headline, author and brief description of your story. This is excellent if you want to share relevant information with your buyers, especially if you’ve written your own post.
- Movie pins: You can show off some of your favourite movies here, with rich pin info including actors, ratings and reviews. This is especially useful if you sell entertainment-related items, most notably movies and/or TV shows.
- Place pins: With this pin, you can ‘pin’-point (sorry for the pun!) a location with a map, address and phone number. Good if you want to highlight your own adjunct shop, work with other merchants in terms of providing a fleshed-out inventory, or simply highlight areas of importance related to your product line.
- Recipe pins: Exactly as it sounds — you’ll be listing the ingredients and directions needed to make certain dishes, and is handy if you’re selling items like cookware or baking tools.
- Product pins: We saved this one for last because it’s by far the most important on the list. This is where Pinterest really blurs the boundaries between what it usually does and what online stores do, with pictures of your product displaying real time pricing, availability and where to buy. Plus, because we know you faithfully reprice your merchandise with RepricerExpress, the product pin will also alert pinners when your items have decreased in cost so they can jump on it right away. Just make sure you link to the product page so people can actually buy it.
Like it or not, Instagram has followed in Twitter’s footsteps by using hashtags. They’re a quick and easy way to centralise posts and photos — but only if you do it right. No doubt you’ve come across tweets that #have #hashtags #after #every #word or more hashtagged words/phrases than are in the actual tweet. It’s annoying and shows the person tweeting doesn’t have a good grasp on the subtleties of Twitter.
Sites like Websta or Populgram will tell you what the most popular hashtags are right now, but you’ll still have to add on your own knowledge and experience to make it work. This is when your own keyword research, combined with a hashtag relevance site like IconoSquare, can help you come up with a list of hashtags that are both relevant to your business and will help connect you with like-minded shoppers.
Pin Quality Over Quantity
Sure, we know that the more pins you put up, the likelier your business is of getting noticed. But just because you throw a bunch of pins out there doesn’t necessarily they’ll be landing with the right audiences. If you ignore these tips, your pins could very well be disappearing into the ether.
- Keep faces out of images and watch your posts get repinned 23% more
- Try to keep your background (whitespace) to under 30%
- Stay away from very dark or very light colours, choosing instead to go with bright dominant colours so you can get repinned at 3.25 times the normal rate
- If stuck on choosing a colour, opt for red over blue. And if you can toss a bit of orange and brown in there as well, go for it.
- Choose taller pictures (i.e. 800 vertical and up) for best results and don’t skimp on the width either (600-736 horizontal)
Now that you’ve read this far and implemented these practices, you’ll have to see which ones work best and which ones need a bit more time. We’ve tried to include fairly universal tips on how to increase ecommerce sales with Pinterest and Instagram, but they’ll work a little differently on each seller. This is when you should be looking closely at your metrics and analysing the stats to see just where you’ve struck gold. And don’t be too hasty! Give each new move a month before deciding it’s just not working out.
Sellers sign up on Amazon because they fall into one of two categories: they have a couple of loose odds and ends they want to turn into money, or they’re looking to start a full-time business in the online world. If you fall into the latter category, RepricerExpress has learned of four areas that may be affecting your bottom line.
1. Not Understanding How Shipping Works
No doubt you’ve sent a letter in your lifetime and have a good working knowledge of how a mailbox works. It seems pretty simple, too — you put postage on the envelope, slide it through the slot, and it arrives at its destination pretty fast.
With Amazon, sending something from Point A to Point B gets a whole lot more complicated. You have to contend with Customs in various companies, package size and weight, various post offices and shipping carriers and the different methods and speeds in which each one ships.
It may not seem like a terribly big thing, being a day or two late with when you said the product would arrive, but shipping time is one of the factors Amazon takes into consideration when awarding a Buy Box. And if you’re consistently behind on your shipping times, it could lead to Amazon penalising you, which we’ll discuss in a later point.
2. Not Understanding Handling Time
If you’ve ever watched shopping channel infomercials on TV, you’ve noticed a really common phrase: “shipping and handling”. The former we’ve discussed in the above part — the process of actually sending out a package to its destination — but handling is a little different.
Handling is what you do with the product before sending it out for shipping, the sorts of things that cover everything from processing an order to getting the package ready to go out. It’s not something that takes a terribly long time but if you’re the kind of seller anticipating dealing with dozens or hundreds of orders, you need to figure out a pretty efficient system — and fast.
Amazon won’t give you all the time in the world for handling time. In fact, they want you to get everything done and have the package out in two days or less. It sounds like more than enough time when you’ve only got a handful of packages to take care of, but as business starts to ramp up, that 48-hour window will seem to shrink more and more each time…and it may be time to consider something like Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) to ensure you meet Amazon’s criteria.
3. Letting Your Orders Slide
FBA is one of those really neat services where you can pretty much pay Amazon to take care of a whole bunch of work for you. All you have to do is pay them a fee and they’ll take care of everything else on their end at one of their fulfilment centres. They’ll store products for you, package products for you, and then deliver them for you — all within their time-frame and guaranteed.
By not using FBA, you run the risk of increasing your Order Defect Rate, which is a tool Amazon uses to measure your success as a seller. As a point of reference, the top sellers on Amazon, the ones who consistently get awarded a Buy Box, keep their ODR at 1% or under.
4. Getting a Suspension on Your Account
If you ask the best sellers on Amazon, they’ll tell you they’ve made loads of mistakes. Getting to the top has its own learning curve and some of the best learning experiences come from messing up. It’s a swift kick that stings, but if you’re smart, you’ll take it to heart and avoid that route in the future.
However, if you ask those same top sellers on Amazon if they’ve ever gotten suspended, the answer will probably be quite different. There’s a difference between messing up once and doing so to the point of suspension, and the best sellers educate themselves so their learning curve is as minimal as possible.
Getting suspended is something that’ll harm your bottom line a lot, as you can’t make money if you’re not an active seller.
* This article was originally published on RepricerExpress
Google Analytics for ecommerce businesses is no longer optional, it’s mandatory. Well, it is if you have any plans of succeeding in ecommerce. Even if you don’t and are content to go at it very part-time, it’s still a very useful tool to have around so you can measure who visits your site and where they come from. RepricerExpress takes a look at this new aspect of Google Analytics and why you should be hopping on board as soon as possible.
Google Analytics: A Recap
Most merchants are no doubt familiar with Google Analytics but just in case, here’s a little rundown of its most important points.
- Tracking: This is the first part of getting started and all you’ll need is a Google account, which you may already have. You’ll next have to set up an account on Google Analytics, link your website, and then copy and paste the tracking code they provide.
- Reports: Remember that Google sometimes takes up to a day to get its ‘tracking robots’ in order, so don’t expect results right away. Once they do start coming in, you’ll be able to monitor information in one of five ways — real time, audience, conversions, behaviour, acquisition. Google will show you information from the last month, but you can change this anytime to have a reporting period exactly how you want. Note: real time is obviously excluded from this.
- Site Search: So far, we’ve covered that it’s good to know where your customers are and what they’re doing at various times, but it’s also important to know what they’re looking for on your site. You’ll have to activate Site Search Tracking but once you do, you’ll be able to see what products shoppers are looking at under the Behaviour setting. Remember to also give this one some time, as Google can take up to a day to start sending numbers your way.
- Campaigns: This part doesn’t come automatically, but setting it up takes no time at all. All you have to do is input the relevant information into Google’s Campaign URL Builder tool, and then presto! You can now track your campaigns!
It’s pretty spiffy so far, isn’t it? Google Analytics lets you keep track of an awful lot of information on your site so you can tailor your marketing more specifically, letting you get even further ahead than before. With all these elements, what could Google possibly add to make Analytics even better?
In a nutshell, far more detail.
Enhanced Ecommerce consists of four main parts that put even more control in your hands, and they are:
- Shopping and Purchasing Behaviour: One of the most maddening things for merchants is when a shopper loads up their cart with items…and then changes their mind at the last minute and empties it. What happened to that possible conversion? You can now know by getting a report on why/how buyers put items into shopping carts, initiating/abandoning and if/when they go through with the transaction.
- Merchandising Success: One of the factors that strongly affects conversions is how swaying your marketing and campaigns are. It’s never a guarantee that excellent marketing will totally and completely result in sales, but now you’ll be able to see, in black and white, just how successful your internal and external marketing is. This part tracks things like mean order cost, transactions and revenue, and it also works if your shoppers use coupons you’ve issued. Plus, you’ll also be able to track how good you are (or if your strategy needs improvement) at using product lists for merchandise.
- Economic Performance: Money talk — it’s hugely important for measuring the health of your site. In this section, Google will show you things like revenue, conversion rates for individual products, the number of things bought in an average purchase and how much it totalled, any refunds/returns and how buyers load up their shopping carts after eyeing a product on product-detail pages.
- Product Attribution: We briefly mentioned product lists above, and this section helps you better understand that. Ecommerce sites are set up so vastly different from one another, but generally, people look for products either from search results, a merchandising block or on a category page, and this part of Google Analytics helps you target each one accordingly.
* This article originally appeared on SellerExpress
It’s hard to believe that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over again for another year. With this in mind, we reflect on the past year and offer some advice to help you get your online business in shape for 2015.
Rise of mobile commerce
Organizations are allocating more resources than ever to their digital channels. John Lewis is one example of a large, high-street company investing heavily in digital creative properties, including Monty the Penguin.
According to Mark Lewis, John Lewis’ marketing director, “customers want to be able to shop seamlessly across all channels and mobile is now the go-to choice alongside visiting our shops.”
In China, Alibaba’s Singles’ Day highlighted the rise of mobile commerce with 43% of all purchases being made through mobile devices. Smartphones, tablets and phablets are being used by consumers globally to browse and complete purchases for goods.
Recent figures from Statista estimate the number of digital shoppers in the U.S. alone to be 274 million and growing. Therefore, responsive web-design across multiple devices is essential for any business looking to sell online.
Social media is a great tool for connecting with customers. These platforms are a cost-effective way to promote your business online and start conversations with your customers. You can help grow your number of likes and followers by including social links on your website and email marketing.
Businesses should be aware of the myriad segments, Generation X, Y and Z, and how they interact with social media differently.
Customers want their products as fast as possible; Amazon has even started trialling deliveries through a taxi service to meet this demand. Getting your goods to your customer within your estimated time frame is important in helping to build customer loyalty and get repeat business.
Don’t forget to use appropriate packaging for the goods you are shipping and keep your hot products in stock.
As a seller, you should be aware of the importance of gaining positive feedback from your customers, demonstrating you have met their needs. Ensure you use accurate product descriptions combined with high quality images that illustrate your products well. Positive feedback can be achieved by offering quality products, shipping them on time and responding to customer queries in a timely manner.
The price is right
Showrooming and webrooming continue to take place as customers become more price savvy and look to secure the best deal possible.
Consumers can very easily compare buying options from sellers and decide which deal offers the best in terms of price, delivery and customers’ feedback.
For merchants who sell on Amazon as well as their own web store, repricing software can help sellers increase their Amazon sales and profits—sellers can automatically compare their product prices to those of competitors’ and adjust them accordingly within their own floor and ceiling limits, 24/7.
Getting the attention of consumers is an ongoing challenge for all online businesses. In addition to using social media, advertising through Amazon Products Ads or Google Adwords can help increase high-quality traffic that is relevant to your business.
Amazon Product Ads allow sellers to advertise their products on Amazon but drive customers to their own websites to complete the transaction. With Google Adwords, you choose which products you want to advertise, assign keywords and enter your cost-per-click bid.
Hopefully we’ve provided some guidance to help prepare your business for the holiday season and beyond, into 2015. As with any business, you have finite resources to employ in terms of driving your sales ever higher—experiment with different initiatives during the year and find out what’s working for you.
Every business is different and what works for one doesn’t always work for the other, but before we get to 2015, here’s hoping this holiday season is the best one yet.
Guest blog post by Chris from RepricerExpress
**This article originally appeared onThe Ecommerce Authority
Happy Thanksgiving to all our American friends. Here are some jokes to make you smile (or groan) this Thanksgiving! Click on the attached JPEG file to view our infographic.
Repricing software allows Amazon sellers to automatically compare their product prices to those of competitors’ and adjust them accordingly. Price is so closely linked to sales and product visibility on Amazon that sellers need to continually ensure their products are priced competitively. If you have hundreds or thousands of products, doing this manually isn’t viable.
RepricerExpress offers a solution which will automatically manage the prices of the seller’s products, adjusting them regularly to ensure they are well ranked and visible. Sellers can set their min and max prices for their products and the software then knows never to go below or above these price.
Every 15 minutes, the repricing software will check prices and adjust when necessary with the goal to win the Buy Box or rank highly in search results. With an increasing number of sellers using repricing software it is very much becoming an essential part of your ecommerce business rather than a nice tool to have.
What’s the Buy Box?
On the Amazon marketplace, both Amazon and third-party sellers are responsible for selling products. When a customer reaches the product page, Amazon places one seller’s details and price in the Buy Box.
Because the Buy Box is so prominent and linked to the ‘Add to cart’ button, any seller with placement in it, will guarantee more sales for the seller that wins it. In search terms, the Buy Box is effectively the first result of a customer’s search for a specific product, and the one that they are likely to click most to complete a purchase.
Last year, Amazon’s revenue was close to $75 billion, with more than $60 billion of sales coming through the Buy Box and with $30 billion being attributed to third-party Amazon sellers.
How can l win the Buy Box on Amazon?
Your eligibility to win the Buy Box is linked to your seller performance.When you exceed Amazon’s standards you’ll obtain the Featured Merchant status—a prerequisite to Buy Box eligibility.
When that’s in place, your placement within the Buy Box can be largely governed by price, which is why anyone seriously selling on Amazon needs to put repricing strategies in place to consistently maintain healthy sales.
Reach 237m customers
An area that small sellers often overlook is the huge audience of consumers are on Amazon—with around 237m customer accounts globally, any small seller with their own website is never going to be able to bring that size of audience to their own site.
Amazon’s new Subscriptions API means that sellers are able to filter their competitors with much greater control and only compete against similar sellers instead of reducing their prices against non-featured merchants and those who aren’t eligible for Buy Box placement.
What are the biggest fears of customers using repricing software?
The number one fear of sellers is that repricers can lower prices to as low as a penny, but the truth is that sellers need to input their minimum and maximum sell prices before repricing begins—so if you set a minimum sell price for your football as £5 your price will NEVER get pushed below that.
A modern repricing solution will increase your prices where possible. If your min and max prices for the football are £5 and £20 respectively and your competitor sells out of stock, the repricing would push your price up to maximise your profits on any new sales.
There are so many myths about repricing software but the truth is, the practice has been going on in retail for decades, albeit in a different way. In any competitive market, you’re going to have to compete on price in some regard, particularly on a marketplace that is renowned for its competitive pricing, however, with a repricing solution, you get to compete on your terms where you can win.
Have you any advice on executing a repricing strategy?
Sellers should use a pricing strategy in line with their overall business strategy. It is important your repricing software allows you to decide who you want to compete with and also who you don’t want to compete with.
There isn’t one quick fix for all sellers since everyone is different, but what you do get with a modern repricing solution is the ability to match your repricing rules to your own business, so you’re competing only where you can win a sale.
What features does RepricerExpress offer?
With RepricerExpress you get a super-fast repricing solution that:
- Is really easy to set up,
- Offers continuous and blazingly fast repricing,
- Offers multiple ways to increase sales,
- Allows you to compete with different sellers in different ways,
- Can run in Safe Mode (whereby you can try repricing without affecting your live marketplace listings),
- Works across eight Amazon marketplaces,
- Can include or exclude specific sellers*,
- Offers infinite customisation of your repricing strategies*,
- Can filter competition based on seller rating, feedback, shipping country and dispatch times*,
- Auto-enables price increases under common scenarios*,
- Comes with a 15-day free trial.
How long does it take to set up?
Because RepricerExpress is online and ‘talks’ directly to your Amazon account, there is nothing to install or setup outside of the app—you can be up and running and trying repricing live or in Safe Mode (won’t affect live listings) within 30 minutes of sign up.
How much does it cost?
Our packages start at £30 a month which includes 2,500 SKUs. We also offer a free 15-day trial so you can find out if repricing is suitable for you without it costing a penny.
If you have any further repricing queries and can’t find the answer on our website please get in touch via email@example.com where Seamus or one of the team will get back to you asap.
About the author Seamus Breslin
Designer, marketer and all things ecommerce related.
*This article originally appeared on Taxjar.com
Amazon has just released a new Subscriptions API, allowing developers and merchants to subscribe to the “AnyOfferChanged” which Amazon defines as:
“The AnyOfferChanged notification is sent whenever there is a price change or offer listing change for any of the top 20 offers, by condition (new or used), for an item that you sell. The top 20 offers are determined by the landed price, which is the price plus shipping. If multiple sellers are charging the same landed price, the results will be returned in random order.
You will only receive AnyOfferChanged notifications for items for which you have active offers. You cannot subscribe to notifications for items for which you do not have active offers.”
The future advantages for sellers might include:
- Selling all of the prices from top 20 rather than group which will allow repricing software (that uses the new API) to price more accurately when best price is used.
- Being able to exclude or include certain sellers from competition
- Set a different ‘beat by’ when competing with the competition
- The extra data could provide extra pricing rules, like, ignore sellers from countries / states / sellers feed back / offers expedited shipping etc.
- Ability to find out who is selling at what price, enhancing your pricing analysis
Amazon repricing providers like RepricerExpress already has its development team busy integrating the new API into its software to give its users a further competitive advantage in the Amazon marketplace and a better means of winning the Buy Box.
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